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Google accuses Microsoft of lying on patent bid dispute

updated 04:10 pm EDT, Thu August 4, 2011

Google says Microsoft offer on Nortel bid a trap

Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond updated his criticism of the Nortel and Novell patent bid to rebuff Microsoft's claims that it had thrown out a chance at patents by turning down an invitation to the Novell bid. He accused Microsoft of diversionary tactics and said that the offer to join on Novell was an effective trap. If Google had joined the group, it couldn't use those patents to defend itself or others from anti-Android lawsuits, the very goal Microsoft wanted to achieve by bidding in the first place.

"A joint acquisition of the Novell patents that gave all parties a license would have eliminated any protection these patents could offer to Android against attacks from Microsoft and its bidding partners," Drummond wrote. "Making sure that we would be unable to assert these patents to defend Android -- and having us pay for the privilege -- must have seemed like an ingenious strategy to them. We didn't fall for it."

The Google executive pointed to Department of Justice actions on the Novell case as hope for what would follow for Nortel. In that case, the Department of Justice forced a transfer of ownership that guaranteed open-source licensing. The DOJ's emphasis on protecting competition for open-source code like Linux supported concerns that rivals were using patents to stifle Android, Drummond said.

Microsoft's General Counsel Brad Smith and corporate communications leader Frank Shaw, who challenged Google's view of events, had yet to respond.

By Electronista Staff


  1. sgirard

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2005


    Patent Ownership

    So... patent ownership doesn't protect the patent owner from being sued for patent infringement on their own patents?

  1. bigmig

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2004


    A shorter David Drummond:

    "Like the other companies in this group, we were offered the opportunity to be immune to lawsuits involving *any* Novell patent for a very modest cost. However, we are cheap, so we chose not to buy in."

  1. DiabloConQueso

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2008


    Wasn't that the point of the joint venture?

    By all these companies jointly purchasing patents, wasn't the goal to prevent infighting and patent litigation between the companies?

  1. brainiac

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2003


    Its not paranoia

    If everyone is out to get you.

  1. driven

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: May 2001


    Adult Supervision

    Apparently Google is still in need of adult supervision. What an insane reply? Sometimes it's better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you are a fool than to say something and remove all doubt.

  1. sdh5019

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2011


    Admitted Guilt

    I think what he is saying is that Google wanted to use these patents as leverage against other patents that Microsoft and Apple have, therefore admitting that Google is infringing on current patents of Apple and Microsoft and that Google is in need of something to couteract that.

  1. gmsquires

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2009


    Wrong company???

    I think you mean Nortel patents not Novell??

  1. Bobfozz

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2008



    Did not Google have a bid in for 3+ billion dollars? Doesn't that show they were interested unless they were bidding "up" the cost to those they didn't want to work with, which is ALWAYS dangerous.
    I read this comment by Drummond twice, two different articles, and he is either stupider than I originally thought, or my course in logic, and mathematical logic was a waste of money.
    So IF Google is NOT in on these patents, doesn't that mean they can be sued if they violate these patents? Otherwise, what would a patent be good for? Oh yes, all the lawyers for everyone else are dumber than Drummond's company because they avoided a trap? This guy is a baby.

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